By Vergel O Lozano
Photos taken by Lawrence Agustin
This internship journey has been the best experience of my life so far, and I can feel its impact will stay with me forever. From the very beginning, I had a sense that this internship was going to be special, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. The insights and lessons I’ve gained have been invaluable, and I’m eager to share my journey with others.
In my early days with ALTEC, my fellow intern and I were busy with tasks like organizing documents and setting up our workspace in the newly transferred office. As we familiarize ourselves with the organization and its teams, we are trying to build rapport and create a positive environment. While specific tasks were yet to be assigned, we embarked on our journey with a shared spirit of learning, growth, and integration into the ALTEC community.
Vergel Lozano presents the PSEA Policy at the summer program. | Vergel and his co-intern, Jhudiel, take a group photo after the PSEA Dry Run during the summer program
One significant milestone was when we were entrusted with a task focused on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA), aligned with our affiliation with UNICEF. Our responsibility was to prepare an orientation for an upcoming trip to Dipolog City, aiming to create a safe space and prevent any instances of sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment during the training. Seeking guidance from experts, we gained valuable insights into handling sensitive situations and providing psychological first aid.
Throughout this internship, the power of teamwork and collaboration became evident in achieving meaningful goals. Working with my fellow intern and the ALTEC team has been a delightful experience. We support and motivate each other, sharing ideas and insights that contribute to the success of our projects. The inclusive and encouraging environment allows each person’s strengths to shine, and everyone’s voice is heard and valued.
Kuya Rogin, our director, has been a true source of inspiration for each one of us. His exceptional work ethic and boundless enthusiasm create an atmosphere of unity and camaraderie among colleagues, transforming the office space into a hub of genuine connection and personal growth. His leadership style radiates a sense of passion and dedication, motivating us to give our best and pursue excellence in our work. Kuya Rogin’s encouragement and support empower us to take on challenges with confidence, knowing that we have a guiding force that genuinely believes in our capabilities. His mentorship extends beyond professional development, as he also fosters an environment where everyone’s well-being and personal growth are valued.
The SUGPAT Team at the NExT LEaP – Zamboanga del Norte.
Beyond Kuya Rogin’s influence, the collective enthusiasm and positivity of the entire team contribute to the exceptional work environment at ALTEC. The team’s spirit is infectious, and the shared passion for making a positive impact in the community unites us in our efforts. We thrive on collaboration and mutual support, with each team member’s unique strengths celebrated and harnessed to achieve collective goals.
One most memorable event was our departure for the Dipolog City work trip. The excitement was evident as we gathered at AdZU La Purisima gate 2 for our first pick-up at 3:00 AM. From there, we headed to Lantaka to gather our belongings and pick up the rest of our team members. By 5:00 AM, our group was complete, and with spirits high, we set off for Dipolog City. During our breakfast stopover at Jollibee-Ipil Branch, we not only satisfied our hunger but also engaged in meaningful conversations with fellow team members, getting to know each other better and sharing our aspirations for the internship.
The SUGPAT Team working behind the scenes at the NExT LEaP – Zamboanga City.
As we continued our journey to Dipolog City, receiving our allowances for the trip further strengthened the feeling of camaraderie among us. By lunchtime, we arrived at Dipolog City and enjoyed an amazing meal at a fancy restaurant. The food was fantastic, but what made it truly special was the shared laughter and joy we experienced as a team. It was evident that we were already forming bonds that would last a lifetime. After settling into our hotel rooms, we eagerly prepared for the day zero orientation. Welcoming the participating organizations, we introduced ourselves and set the stage for a collaborative and engaging experience. The facilitators briefed everyone about ALTEC, SUGPAT, and NEXT LEaP, ensuring that we were all on the same page and understood the objectives of our work together. Additionally, they went over the house rules, fostering an environment of respect and professionalism throughout the internship.
Vergel and Jhudiel [right to left] present the Policy on Prevention on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse to the NExT LEaP fellows of Zamboanga del Norte.
One of the most unforgettable moments during the day zero orientation was when my co-intern and I presented the PSEA orientation. Although nervous at first, I felt a sense of empowerment as I spoke in front of the participants, knowing that the information we were sharing would make a difference in their lives. This experience not only improved my communication and public speaking skills but also gave me the confidence to tackle future challenges head-on.
The following days, one, two, and three, were the heart of the training program, led by the knowledgeable Sir Kiko Miranda, the resource speaker. His insights on effective organizational leadership, understanding logical frameworks, and achieving success in developmental initiatives were enlightening. The practical templates and sample problems provided were instrumental in our learning process. I was particularly captivated by the concept of problem trees and objectives trees, as they allowed us to identify the root causes of issues and create comprehensive plans for effective solutions.
Moreover, gaining an understanding of the educational and developmental gaps in different communities was eye-opening. It made me realize the urgency of addressing these issues and sparked a desire to contribute meaningfully to positive change in society. I now feel more empowered to take on the role of a leader and make a difference in the lives of others, starting within my own community.
As I look back on this internship journey, I am filled with gratitude for the amazing experiences, knowledge, and connections it has provided. The friendships formed and the lessons learned have undoubtedly shaped my personal and professional growth. This internship has not only deepened my passion for community development but also instilled in me the confidence and determination to be a driving force for positive change in the world. I will forever cherish this journey, and I am excited about the path that lies ahead as I continue my pursuit of becoming a compassionate and effective leader.